The University of Florida will receive $96.9 million in performance funds from the state for the 2016-2017 year, an award that will help the university recruit and retain top-flight faculty in its quest to become one of the best public research universities in the nation.
This latest award for excellence, which includes $17.1 million in new money, demonstrates UF’s ability to achieve high marks on a series of performance metrics put forward in 2014 by the Board of Governors, which oversees the public university system in Florida. These metrics were codified into law in 2016 and directed $500 million toward the model, including a $225 million state investment that universities matched with $275 million.
“Each year, our universities are demonstrating remarkable improvements, raising the bar on their commitments to student success and the success of our graduates,” said Board of Governors’ Chair Tom Kuntz, who was key in developing the metrics. “Thanks to the support from the governor and Legislature, the service to our students, our employers and our state is unprecedented.”
UF’s high scores, combined with the size of its base budget, means its performance funding award is larger than last year’s and more than any other university in the State University System. The funds are being used to reward faculty and staff as well as manage some critical infrastructure needs. UF received a high institution-specific research score as well as high scores in all other categories.
“Already with the most research funding of all universities in Florida, UF set its research awards goals even greater to the level of top-ranked national institutions,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “That UF continues to set new annual research award records is a testament to our outstanding research faculty.”
Across the system, the money will go toward university initiatives that improve performance on the 10 metrics in the Board of Governors’ Performance Funding Model, which include graduation and retention rates and post-graduation success. The model has yielded huge successes for the State University System, including a 30 percent increase in the number of students pursuing STEM degrees and a graduation rate that is top in the country among the 10 largest states.
Florida’s state universities have implemented a variety of innovative new strategies to improve their services to students, including strengthening their career resource centers and investing in new tracking software that notifies an adviser when a student is stalling and needs help.
At the system level, five of the eight performance-based funding metrics that are common to all universities show improvement over last year’s data. The five metrics are: Median Wages of Bachelor’s Graduates Employed Full-time in Florida; Six-Year Graduation Rates; Academic Progress (Retention) Rates; Percentage of Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded within Programs of Strategic Emphasis; Percentage of Graduate Degrees Awarded within Programs of Strategic Emphasis.